The world is not a safe place for vulnerable Black girls.
A few weeks ago, my therapist told me that vulnerability is something we should work on. She said I don’t trust people.
Well, duh. I know firsthand that the world is not a safe place for vulnerable Black girls.
After our session, I tried to think of when I first learned that lesson.
Was it sixth grade, when I wrote a note to my secret crush (a white boy) and he laughed while reading it aloud to the entire class?
Was it my 13th birthday, when I planned a big party, invited everyone I knew from school, and only two people showed up?
Was it the summer after my sophomore year in college, when the man I loved dumped me but still strung me along so he could have someone to clean his apartment and cook for him?
Was it when I was publicly shamed by a dentist for crying out in pain during a root canal?
Was it the multiple instances of racism, sexism, or the brutal combination of both known as misogynoir that I’ve experienced in my life?
I truly wish that I could open up and be myself with everyone. But lessons learned the hard way are ones not quickly forgotten.
This world is not a safe place for vulnerable Black girls.
The sky gray, flat.
As am I. Gray. Flat.
Missing Soleil–bright, warm, light. Each year I beg her to stay.
She says she’ll come visit sometimes, floats away on a gust of wind.
She doesn’t lie. She makes an occasional appearance, but always brings Monsieur Le Froid. He stays even after Soleil departs again.
Today, a pretty big change is happening in my life.
My boyfriend and I are combining households–today’s the day of the move!
I must admit, I’ve been looking forward to this day for quite some time. We’ve lived apart for the entirety of our three year relationship, and I’m so excited that we’re taking this step together to really become a team…a family.
However, this move hasn’t been without it’s share of challenges. I’ve had to purge a significant amount of, well, crap. It’s amazing how much stuff a person can collect! When I went back home to Kentucky this summer to visit my family, my mom sent me back with a lot of my stuff from my childhood: pictures, knickknacks, school yearbooks–even my American Girl doll, Addy. Add that to the house full of stuff I’ve collected since I’ve lived in Wisconsin and you end up with a ton of things you have to decide to keep or throw out.
I’m not the best at letting things go. Channeling my inner Marie Kondo was a struggle for me. How do I know if this thing “brings me joy”? Isn’t it wasteful to just throw this in the trash? If I don’t have this ticket stub/t-shirt/photograph, how will I know that I saw that movie/went to that concert/knew those people?
This process has helped me understand one thing: Those tokens aren’t the important thing. The memories of those experiences are what matter.
As you can tell, this blog has gone by the wayside for…a while.
Honestly, some days it’s been a struggle to get out of bed, much less come up with something to say.
If I’m being really truthful with myself, depression had me putting myself by the wayside. But, this is a new chapter.
I’m in therapy. I’m in a good place in my career and relationships. And I’m going to do everything I can to prioritize my happiness and well-being.
Here’s to new beginnings!
So, I just listened to the first episode of the podcast I narrated Who Killed Julie? and it was so amazing! (And no, I’m not just saying that because I narrated it.)
This podcast is different because it’s fiction that tackles a very real subject–domestic abuse. As a domestic abuse survivor, I know firsthand how hard it can be to recover from such a terrible experience. The podcast creator, Paul Sating, is using this series to bring light to the issue and support survivors. How awesome is that?!? It’s one thing to use the topic to get listens, but to actually use this platform to help people who’ve gone through this ordeal is honorable and so needed in today’s times.
With all that’s going on in regards to women and sexual assault in America today, Who Killed Julie? is a necessary listen. For those who ask why she didn’t fight back, why she didn’t report it back then, if she was drinking, what she was wearing, and all the other bullshit excuses for terrible behaviors on the part of men, you should listen to this. This is a story of a woman who experienced something truly terrible–lost her life even–and the reason why will chill you to the bone.
Check out Who Killed Julie? on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher!
When I first started this blog, I’d just celebrated my 26th birthday.
Yesterday, I turned 31. #OldLadyClub
What would I tell myself, at the beginning?
- Control is not love. You deserve better than him, even if you don’t think you do.
- Yes, you do love your new job. Money isn’t everything–you’ll get by, I promise–and you’ll be soooooo much happier.
- DO NOT COSIGN ON THAT CAR. Trust me.
- DO NOT PAY FOR THAT WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD. Again, trust me.
- Old friends will leave your life–let them go, girl! The ones that stay are the ones that belong.
- You are beautiful at any weight.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are so many people who love you.
- You’re going to travel the world. Take lots of pictures!
- Love–real love–will find you. But you have to love yourself first.
- You are so much stronger than you know. Physically and emotionally–you can handle anything that comes your way.
Many thanks to all of you who’ve been part of my life’s journey. Here’s to 31–I’ve only just begun!
I pulled in to Nazareth, I was feelin’ ’bout a half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
Hey mister, can you tell me where a girl might find a bed (can you tell me)
He just grinned and shook my hand, no was all he said
-Aretha Franklin, ‘The Weight’
If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted lately, it’s because I’ve been feeling the weight.
An unarmed Black man was murdered by a police officer in his own apartment.
Brett Kavanaugh will likely become part of the Supreme Court.
Wisconsin, where I live, is slowly recovering from historic flooding that destroyed many structures and even killed someone.
The White House is in chaos.
As a Black woman in America, getting through each day lately has been utterly exhausting. Watching the news makes me so anxious, but I can’t not watch–I need to know how close to oblivion we are getting. Unfortunately, we are inching closer and closer every day.
The weight is bearing down on me. It’s bearing down on a lot of us.
But I can’t let it take me out. We can’t let it bring us down.
We have to continue to help and love each other, regardless of what we look like or how much money we have or where we’re from.
We have to fight back against those trying to tear apart our country with racism and discrimination.
We have to keep moving forward.
Yes, I’m still feeling the weight. The struggle to make it through each day is still very real. But I like to think that my muscles are getting stronger. I’m trying to find something positive in each day to keep me moving forward.
I hope you are too.
Another day, another influential album. 🙂
Second on the list is…
Anybody else reallyyyyyyyy into American Idol back in the day? I know I was a huge fan of the ORIGINAL series (I’ve got opinions on the recent revival of the show–that’s for another post) that brought us the legend known as Kelly Clarkson.
I must admit, I wasn’t even rooting for Kelly to win the inaugural season of AI. I was a teenage girl back then, which meant I was squarely on #TeamJustinGuarini. (What can I say? He was cute, and I had raging teen girl hormones controlling my thoughts.) But Kelly definitely deserved to win. Homegurl can SANG. I enjoyed her debut album (Thankful) that came out as a result of her winning the show.
But her sophomore album Breakaway…that album was special. It was the soundtrack for my high school years, even though it didn’t come out until I was a senior.
For a long time, I didn’t know that the feelings of desolation I had were actually signs of depression. Breakaway helped me get through the pain I experienced (especially breaking up with my first boyfriend). One song in particular called “Hear Me” was my heartsong. I felt like I was in a crowd, screaming for help, and no one noticed.
I’m cryin’ out
I’m ready now
Turn my world upside down
I’m lost inside the crowd
It’s getting loud
I need you to see
I’m screaming for you to please
(If you haven’t checked our Part 1 of this series, please do!)
“Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories.
And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.“
Mr. Stevie had it right, y’all. So much music colors my life. A song comes on and within the first few notes, I’m transported. Memories, bright and sharply focused, take me back in time. Depending on the song, I could laugh out loud or burst into tears. I welcome all the memories–happy and sad–that the music brings to me.
Starting today, I’ll post the artwork for an album. Some are old; others are more recent. Some brought me joy; others got me through the toughest times in my life. All make up the soundtrack of my life, the music of my heart.
I remember exactly where I was when I first heard Lemonade. After a cruise celebrating my mother’s birthday I sat in the Detroit Metro airport, waiting for the flight to take me home. I’d heard the buzz about the album–the controversy over “Formation” at the Super Bowl halftime show, the shock that she made a whole entire film to go with it (#whodoesthat #yourfavecouldnever #shesthegreatest)–so I had to hear what the Queen was talkin’ ’bout. I purchased the album on iTunes and listened to it over…
At some points, I openly wept. In the terminal, on the plane–I couldn’t hold back the tears. You see, I had a tough time recovering from abuse from my ex-fiance. I felt betrayed. I felt angry. I felt afraid. I was just coming to the realization that, even though I felt powerless, I was the one who controlled my life. Lemonade spoke to all that betrayal, anger, and fear. It let me know I would make it through and be a stronger woman in the end.
In “Sandcastles”, Beyoncé sings:
Dishes smashed on my counter
From our last encounter
Pictures snatched out the frame
Bitch I scratched out your name
And your face
What is it about you
That I can’t erase
When every promise don’t work out that way
Her voice breaks at, “What is it about you that I can’t erase?” and it was like she read my heart and turned my deepest feelings into song. I wanted to forget my ex so bad–because he hurt me so bad–but he still haunted me.
Lemonade was my strength. Even today, every time a song from the album comes on, I stop and listen.
(Special thanks to Eli W. for inspiring this series!)